Almost half of new affordable homes delivered in the last five years have been funded through S106 agreements, meaning that the planning system plays an integral role in delivering these homes by supplying the viable land that allows them to be funded.
The research highlights that there is a need for approximately 145,000 new affordable homes each year, however currently only 35,500 net affordable homes are being delivered annually (when accounting for a loss in supply due to homes purchased through Right to Buy). This is woeful.
The lack of affordable housing has significant consequences including increased overcrowding, more families in temporary accommodation, and reduced ability to lead a healthy life. An over-reliance on the private rented sector also has economic consequences such as increased government expenditure on housing benefits.
The LPDF consider that in the context of Government commitments to deliver planning reform in support of its Levelling Up agenda, the Affordable Housing Emergency must not be ignored. Policy changes must result in the identification and allocation of sites that can significantly boost affordable housing delivery.
We agree with LPDF that Local authorities must be held to account to identify a deliverable supply of affordable housing, with the current policy mechanisms clearly failing to ensure this is happening at anywhere near a sufficient scale. There is an undeniable need for more affordable homes, the research by LPDF highlights the role of the planning system in providing a sufficient supply of affordable homes but how can we do more? There are clear barriers within the planning system, and changes are needed.
The governments Planning White Paper published earlier this year seeks to introduce a new ‘single infrastructure levy’ to replace the existing developer contributions system of section 106 agreements and the community infrastructure levy (CIL). The new levy will be a nationally-set, flat rate charge and would be based on the final value (or likely sales value) of a development. The purpose is to raise more revenue than the current system of developer contributions, and deliver “at least as much” affordable housing, and on-site affordable housing, as at present. But does this go far enough? Yes, it could speed up the planning process, however what about the areas where final development value is low – are these areas going to miss out on much needed affordable housing? What about sites which have high remediation costs, could this affect viability? Are we going to see developments stalled? Land owners not willing to sell at a price which would allow the levy to be paid?
It’s clear there is still a lot of questions about how the levy will work. On a final note the governments promise to deliver “at least as much” affordable housing is worrying as the LPDF research confirms that affordable housing delivery is not at a scale which is meeting current need, so why is the government not promising to deliver affordable housing to actual meet housing needs? We are under no illusion that there is a housing emergency in England and reforms to the planning system are not enough in isolation to tackle it.
We shall eagerly await the legislation for the levy and hope that other mechanisms are introduced to scale up affordable housing delivery.
Affordable Housing schemes are one of our favourite types of development the team like to get involved in. We work with some great housing providers to ensure that affordable housing is secured for those who need it. However, we’d love to see more affordable housing being progressed and delivered. Take a look at some of our Successes for Affordable Housing Schemes:
- PLANNING SUCCESS – AFFORDABLE HOUSING SCHEME IN WOLSINGHAM
- 100% AFFORDABLE HOUSING SCHEME SECURES PLANNING
- PLANNING SUCCESS – AFFORDABLE HOUSING CO. DURHAM
- PLANNING SUCCESS – AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN NEW MARSKE
- AFFORDABLE HOUSING SUCCESS IN CO. DURHAM
- PLANNING SUCCESS – COUNCIL HOUSING, HARTLEPOOL
The Housing Crisis is not a new issue, we’ve been writing about it for years and there are plenty other people banging the drum to highlight this growing issue, however what is actually being done to help people!
Homelessness up by 25% from 2021 on one night in Autumn 2022, according to the Department of Levelling Up, Communities and Housing as reported by the BBC. There is a clear need for more affordable homes: The Housing Crisis: why we need more social housing
We were devastated to read the statistics, released in 2023, showing the number of people living in temporary accommodation in England has hit a 25-year high! Check out the BBC article if you haven’t seen it yet ➡️ https://loom.ly/GvPvTho
Efforts to combat homelessness and alleviate the housing crisis in the UK must involve a combination of short-term and long-term solutions. This includes increased investment in affordable housing projects, initiatives to support low-income families, and greater focus on mental health and addiction support services. Additionally, there needs to be greater collaboration between government, local authorities, and nonprofit organisations to create a coordinated approach to tackle homelessness effectively.
Addressing the housing crisis and homelessness requires a collective effort and commitment from all stakeholders to ensure that no one is left behind and that the UK can create a brighter and more secure future for all.